After two years of mask mandates, lockdowns and wildfires, Newsom has set a sunny and optimistic tone in recent weeks as he prepares for what appears to be a relatively easy campaign.
Just six months ago, voters overwhelmingly rejected a bid to impeach Newsom. And since then, Larry Elder – his best-known and best-funded Republican rival – has withdrawn from the November election.
Since then, Newsom has doubled down on its pandemic policies, announcing the state will require coronavirus vaccines for school children while imposing reminders for health workers.
“It’s been an amazing few years,” Newsom said Saturday during a speech at the state Democratic Endorsement Convention. “I tell you, I mean this with the heart of my bones, the best is yet to come.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have highlighted California’s oversized problems ahead of the fall election. Crime has increased in major cities across the state, while California’s homeless population remains a visible indictment of state leaders.
Over the weekend, the statewide average gasoline price topped $5 a gallon for the highest average on record, part of a plethora of rising prices due to inflation . US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, said she supports a ban on Russian oil imports in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – a move that would reduce offer again.
“This is a crisis brought on by the Democrats themselves,” said House Republican Leader James Gallagher. “If Democrats really care about lowering the cost of living for California workers, they will join our efforts to suspend the gas tax and cut costs by fifty cents a gallon overnight.”
VIDEO: Average California gasoline price hits new record high of $5.28 per gallon, AAA says
Newsom, for his part, has proposed suspending a small increase in the national gasoline tax that is expected to take effect this summer. But Democratic leaders in the state legislature balked at the proposal, arguing that it would make it harder to maintain state roads while providing barely noticeable relief at the pumps.
Newsom gave no indication of what he will emphasize in his speech, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Two years ago, on the eve of the pandemic, Newsom broke with tradition by devoting his entire speech to a single topic: homelessness. Last year, Newsom spoke to a nearly empty Dodger Stadium at a time when he was facing an uncertain recall election.
But this year, Newsom can deliver a speech from a position of strength after mostly reinforcing his political vulnerabilities. Yet he faces unrest within his party as progressive activists are angry with Newsom for not trying to push through universal health care as he promised during his first campaign for the job. governor in 2018.
On Saturday, Newsom noted that he still supports universal health care – “Don’t think we’re going to give up on that,” he said – while stressing his plan to use taxpayers’ money to pay for health care. health insurance for low-income immigrants living illegally in the country. But he offered a subtle warning to the party’s progressive caucus not to go overboard.
“The future happens here first. We are America’s coming attraction, as long as we continue to lead the nation, as long as we don’t fall prey to situational politics and the memes of the moment and the polarization we see every day,” he said.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.